Author: Ciye Cho
A copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Far beyond heaven, earth and hell is a city known as Palladino, a place ruled by ghosts and filled with demons, magic, and all sorts of darkly beautiful things. A city where no one can ever escape.
Eighteen-year-old Rory is a cake decorator who makes stunning confections. But no amount of frosting or miracles can save her when a demon kidnaps her—and carries her to Palladino. Here, Rory ends up in a deadly charm school where young women are forced to become companions for the Ghost Lords. And for her to survive, Rory must become everything that she isn’t: graceful, elegant... and perfect.
But nothing is what it seems in Palladino. Not the magic. Not the ghosts. And definitely not Martin Marius, the bizarre Ghost Lord-slash-inventor who is drawn to Rory. For amid a thousand machines and a hundred cats, Martin holds a secret that could change everything. A secret that could either free Rory... or destroy her.
I've read Ciye Cho's first two novels from the Florence trilogy and really enjoyed them, but I have to say, he has outdone himself with Rory. I am so impressed with the world building, intriguing storyline and likeable (but complex) characters that are packed into this novel!
The beginning of Rory reminded me in some ways of The Selection by Kiera Cass. All of the girls have been training and presenting themselves for the purpose of moving to the next round and hopefully one day being "bought" by a Palendonia Lord. There's cattiness, jealousy, and deceit among the girls, making it so no one can be trusted.
One of the things about this book I was particularly drawn to was Rory's hobby in cake decorating. This may seem irrelevant to the novel but her experience with cakes is frequently brought up throughout the story-line I myself decorated cakes for a good year and found the experience of making an edible piece of art liberating. Ciye Cho captured the art so well that it took me back to my own experiences with cake decorating. In addition to Rory's cake decorating hobby, I found her a really admirable heroine. Sure, she's a tad reckless, but her actions are always done in the hope of helping out those she cares about-- even if those people don't really deserve her help.
The complicated relationship between Martin and Rory added that little umph to the novel. At first, Rory is extremely thankful that Martin was the Lord that bought her (as opposed to the cringe worthy Herve....even his name is creepy....*shivers*) but soon finds herself being wary of him and in return, Martin is distant with Rory. However, as they spend more time together, you see them slowly start warming up and opening themselves to one another. Throughout the entire book there's this underlying attraction between the two of them I was desperate to be unveiled, and although it periodically was, I'm excited to see where these two go in the sequel!
My favourite character by far was Cookie AKA:Rory's best friend. Aka: A talking ghost cat! I don't know what it is, but whenever there's a talking cat thrown into a book, I'm instantly amused! Cookie added great comedy to the story-line and his fascination with icing and cakes was absolutely adorable! I loved the fact that Cookie was also essentially the reason Martin and Rory are in the situation they're in. In addition to that, seeing Martin and Cookie's interactions allowed us the opportunity to see the softer side of Martin (which I LOVED)!
I extend my hand toward it. "Hi. I'm Rory."
The demon clears its throat and says, "You're late." Its voice is male.
"Well, nice to meet you too," I tell him.
"You..." I begin. "You..."
"Well, you could've just said no thanks if you didn't want to play."
I gasp. "Oh whoa...you really can talk."
The cat comes over and says, "Well, yeah."
Overall, Rory is a unique novel that brings together the best of new worlds, ghosts, power, loyalty, friendship and talking cats into a novel that is the start of what looks to be a very promising series! Rory is definitely my favourite Ciye Cho novel to date! Have you read Rory? What are your thoughts on talking cats? Be sure to let me know in the comments below! Keep Reading!
Your Y.A. Bookworm,